UPBeige: A comprehensive review of the annual UPB Spring Giveaway

As the rainy spring weather makes way for sunshine, the recurring University Program Board (UPB) Spring Giveaway is once again in season. Established UPB-goers are no strangers to these annual occurrences, whether for positive or negative reasons. This year, the UPB Spring Giveaway occurred on April 12, where the organization gave away various hats, tote bags and other accessories.

Recently, UPB has been splitting many of their events into two or more time slots, and we feel this has fared well for the greater campus community. For this year’s spring giveaway, two options were available: 5-6 p.m. and 6-7 p.m., with 250 spots originally open for each. Each registrant was guaranteed one cap and one tote bag, while the pins and patches were deemed first come, first served. The designs for all of the merchandise were published beforehand on UPB’s social media accounts, garnering attention from many students. According to the CampusGroups sign-up page, all spots were taken before the start of the event, and the final sign-up count totaled to 506, meaning there was extra room for last minute sign-ups. In comparison to previous UPB events, this was quite a rare occurrence.

Doors opened at 5:04 p.m.—a rather timely start for UPB events. The line went out the Thwing Ballroom doors towards the second floor classrooms, spiraling down the nearby marble stairs outside of Room 101. The event space was arranged in a rectangular format, with a clear section for students to check in, indicated by the words “Start Here” marked in blue painter’s tape on the floor. Once checked in, each student moved down the tables in chronological order. On the first table were baseball caps with embroidered pink UPB logos on the back, and on the second were tote bags with creative UPB designs printed on the front. The third held the pins and patches, with two designs of each available. Students who lined up relatively early received all four distinctive pins and patches, while those who came later may have only been allowed to take one of each.

Unexpectedly, there was a final table housing an assortment of sugary pastries, including glazed and Cinnamon Toast Crunch-flavored donuts, chocolate-filled pastries and pineapple and red bean buns, with each student allowed to choose one. The food wasn’t even advertised—at least on any platforms we had viewed—so we were pleasantly surprised by its inclusion.

The pins and patches were the standard UPB fare, with custom designs that incorporated the words “CWRU,” “CASE” (which vehemently annoyed one of the authors) and “UPB.” The main customizable apparel—the hat and tote bag—were, on the other hand, a bit peculiar as they came in a not-so-unique color: beige. The creative color choice threw us for a loop. While we recognize the customizability of the beige background, images of the Beige Mom Instagram aesthetic gave the event an unintentionally sarcastic tone. This was only exacerbated by the event’s poster, which advertised the event in the style of a fantasy film as opposed to a questionable TikTok aesthetic. The results were odd, to say the least—at an initial, faraway glance, the apparel looked like part of a military uniform. The light color was also easily susceptible to staining: A quick walk outside in a drizzle resulted in obvious watermarks onto the light pigment.

We thoroughly enjoyed the tote bag design, which consisted of a large smiley face, the words “Have a nice day!” and a line of UPB-related text that emphasized the qualities of reusing. We later learned that the large smiley face was the first image that came up when googled “smiley face emoji.” While we love how simplistic it is, we also appreciate the value of student-designed pieces of merchandise, and would like to see more giveaways featuring the works of Case Western Reserve University’s talented study body.

Overall, we prefer these scheduled CampusGroups events over the spontaneous ones where students have to fight to the death, sprinting to publicized locations only for a chance to get a free merchandise item. The 2023 Spring Giveaway situation was unfavorable, as many students may recall. In our opinion, the events scheduled ahead of time on CampusGroups are more equitable and accessible to the study body; prescheduled events do not necessarily favor those who know someone on UPB’s Executive Committee or those who are aware of the ins and outs of CWRU EMS. Jonathan Morris, a third-year nursing student, commented: “That was the most efficient UPB giveaway I’ve seen, and that’s coming from someone who [was] nearly trampled for a sweatshirt.”

As we’re nearing the slew of finals at the end of the year, quick moving events like these are some of the greatest fleeting joys we CWRU students can experience. We hope UPB decides to stick to this format for future events, and that students can indulge in UPB’s offerings as much as possible. After all, there’s not much that can top free merchandise and food. We greatly value the work UPB puts into these events, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of the semester and beyond.

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